Doctoral Program


A business meetingThe Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership is offered by the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge. The Program will admit a limited pool of educators each year who meet the academic requirements and who possess personal qualities and professional experiences that suggest a strong potential for success as doctoral candidates and as educational leaders. The program is intended to prepare individuals for advanced level leadership positions. Admission will be granted on a competitive basis.

Selection Criteria

The most highly qualified applicants among the pool will be admitted into the program. Applications will be evaluated and selected according to the following criteria:

  • Academic ability to successfully complete doctoral study, as evidenced by successful completion of an earned master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education, undergraduate and graduate grades.
  • Strong writing and oral communication skills and conceptual/analytical skills, as indicated by letters of recommendation, writing samples, and interview.
  • Demonstrated success and substantial leadership experience in PreK-12 education or community colleges as evidenced by professional experience and strong letters of recommendation.
  • Clear professional and scholarly goals in keeping with the mission and vision of the program as evidenced by the candidate’s personal statement.
  • Evidence of the dispositions reflective of the mission and vision of the program based on letters of reference and a personal interview.

The Application Process

There are three phases to the application process: Pre-Selection, Selection to the Program, and Admission to the University. All applicants will submit materials for Pre-Selection; those most qualified will be invited to take part in the final selection process. Finally, accepted candidates must confirm their place in the cohort through application to the University.

Pre-Selection - Phase 1

Candidates will submit:

  • Completed preliminary application
  • Official transcripts from each 2-year and 4-year college or university attended
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons who can attest to the applicant’s leadership experience or potential for leadership (Please download the Recommendation Form)
  • A written Statement of Purpose, outlining the applicant’s reasons for seeking entrance to the program and future professional goals (2 pp.)
  • A current professional resume, highlighting relevant leadership experience (maximum 4 pp.)
  • A sample of academic or professional writing from the past ten years (maximum 20 pp.)

Please email the completed preliminary application, three sets of Letter of Recommendation, and other required materials to Dr. Jinyi Li at

Phase II: Selection

The most promising candidates identified in the Pre-Selection process will complete:

  • An interview with the Doctoral Program Admissions Committee

Phase III: Admission to the University

Candidates who have been notified of their acceptance to the Ed.D. Program must apply to the University (online at Cal State Apply by June 1) in order to reserve their places.